Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) – calf pain you need to be wary of!

shutterstock_433376134As physios we can often be the first point of call for a person with suspected Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).

DVT happens when blood clots in a vein deep within the body, usually in the calf, the thigh, or pelvis. The danger associated with this clot, is it can break off and dislodge and travel through the bloodstream, before lodging in an artery in the lung, this is called a pulmonary embolus. If this clot is large this pulmonary embolus can be fatal.

The client may present with insidious onset of persistent calf or thigh pain (even at rest), swelling in that affected leg, the area may feel warm, red or tender to touch.

There are several risk factors for DVT.

  • Age – increase risk with age
  • Inactivity such as plane trips, or being bed ridden due to sickness or after surgery.
  • Smoking
  • Pregnancy
  • Obesity
  • Surgery to abdominal area and major lower limb surgery
  • Medical conditions that increase the risk of clotting
  • Previous DVT
  • Family history of DVT
  • Injuries that disrupt the blood vessels

A person with a suspected DVT based on their history and symptoms, needs to be referred to a GP who will refer you for a special kind of ultrasound test to examine the blood flow in your veins and a blood test. Due to the danger associated with DVT , this is something requiring fairly urgent medical attention.

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